No-Huddle Offense Can Salvage Robert Griffin III's Depressing Sophomore Season

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No-Huddle Offense Can Salvage Robert Griffin III's Depressing Sophomore Season
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One of the few positives to come from the Washington Redskins' 24-17 defeat to the New York Giants was how good Robert Griffin III looked directing a no-huddle offense.

The Redskins let their second-year quarterback lead an up-tempo attack to start the game. It produced the team's best drive of the night, resulting in their first opening-drive touchdown of the season.

One of the hallmarks of the precision march to the end zone was Griffin's quick delivery and accuracy. These are two areas in which he has struggled most as a passer during a depressing sophomore season.

But he had no such problems operating from the no-huddle. That is because the staccato nature of play execution inherent in the no-huddle suits Griffin's strengths as a quarterback.

He is an instinctive playmaker, at his best when not challenged to work through multiple reads. The less time Griffin has to second-guess himself in the pocket, the better he is.

Operating a fast-paced attack let Griffin execute quick, one-hit throws. A great example came when the offense neared midfield.

Alfred Morris had run for two yards on first down. As soon as he had been tackled, Griffin was already rallying the offense back to the line of scrimmage.

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Griffin directing his teammates in the no-huddle.

That forced the Giants to keep their run-first base personnel in. A quick snap and even quicker out pass to wide receiver Joshua Morgan, left in single coverage on the outside, produced another first down.

By using the no-huddle, the Redskins let Griffin manipulate the defense and dictate the matchup he would target. This is a key way the no-huddle can not only salvage Griffin's disappointing season, but also develop him for the future.

Quickening the pace and forcing defenses to lean on familiar personnel groupings will give Griffin more opportunities to decipher coverage and identify mismatches.

It also makes it easier for him to identify viable secondary reads who find it easier to get open against coverage that stays the same from the previous play.

That was obvious when Griffin checked the ball down to Morris to start the drive. It was the kind of smart, keep-the-chains-moving throw all credible pro quarterbacks have to make.

Griffin hasn't always displayed the ability or willingness to do it, but he showcased the essential quality on this impressive opening drive.

The key to Griffin's efficiency was the no-huddle and how it undermined the defense. It is a style of offense that lets Griffin take charge and dictate the game to defenses.

It lets him attack defenses that have spent most of the 2013 NFL season dictating how he plays with various blitz and coverage combinations.

The no-huddle lets Griffin cause some problems for the defense, problems even as basic as the procedure penalty the Giants incurred trying to substitute near the goal line.

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The Giants struggle to keep pace with Griffin's up-tempo offense.

As well as letting Griffin play the aggressor, the no-huddle can also serve to better protect him. The fast-break pace inevitably wears down a defense and can slow a pass rush.

That is crucial considering how this offensive line subjects Griffin to a weekly beating.

But even saving him some hits is not as important as the chance for Griffin to become more of a field general thanks to the no-huddle.

That type of quarterback is what the franchise wanted when the brass decided to give up two first-round picks in trade for the right to draft Griffin in 2012.

Crafting a Griffin-friendly offense is going to dominate the narrative around the Redskins for the foreseeable future. Head coach Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan came the closest they have all season to achieving that in Week 13, as the Washington Post's Kent Babb noted:

This time, the game plan favored Griffin, who has been asked often this season to bail his team out with quick, thoughtful reads and deep passes.

This isn’t his strength, or isn’t yet at this point in his career, and finally, it seemed, Shanahan and his offensive staff had figured that out.

So it was in Washington’s 12th game, in front of a crowd that seemed to have begun looking toward 2014, that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan tailored an attack using quick reads, short passes and low-pressure check-downs.

Integrating more of the no-huddle into the overall offensive design and upping the pace of individual play execution can salvage Griffin's nightmare second season.

It can also provide a blueprint for future success, no matter who is coaching the Redskins next season.

 

All screen shots courtesy of NBC Sports and NFL.com Game Pass.

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